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IBM Rational debuts 12 new SOA tools

IBM Rational Software Development Conference opens today with the unveiling of tools designed to help architects and developers working on SOA projects.

IBM Rational Software Development Conference 2006 opens today in Orlando, FL, with announcements of 12 new versions of tools to support SOA design, development and testing.

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"SOA is one of the bigger challenges that we're working with customers on now," said Roger Oberg, vice president of marketing and strategy for IBM Rational, who will lead the keynotes at the conference, which is expected to draw up to 2,500 attendees.

"What services-oriented architectures are doing is waking people up to the idea that software delivery is a supply chain," Oberg said in a preview interview prior to today's conference opening. "To manage a supply chain effectively, you need to have people's roles and responsibilities defined and tools to help them do that. Whatever their role and responsibility is. You need methodology, you need to agree on how things are going to be done, processes. You need to have measurements, the ability to track measurements and to provide some visibility into that supply chain."

At the conference this week Big Blue is unveiling 12 new versions of tools that make up the IBM Rational Software Development Platform team products. The team concept is being emphasized in the conference theme, "Software in Concert." He said the theme fit the SOA supply chain model for architects and developers working on a variety of projects. The updated IBM Rational tools are designed to help model and manage the supply chain development efforts and provide the metadata required to integrate services into the overall architecture, he explained.

"All of these team products are designed to support the creation of the service, the evolution of it, associating the meta-information about a service, such as the requirements it's meant to fulfill, or the testing that it's undergone so that subsequent users or consumers of it can get some insight into what that particular service was intended to be," Oberg said.

By providing this metadata, IBM Rational is addressing what Oberg characterizes are the "terrible problem" of lack of documentation or information for services in an enterprise.

"People dump services into registries or home-grown repositories and you can't tell a thing about them so what happens is somebody else will write another service that will effectively duplicate a service that's already been written," he said. "So you're not getting any of the advantage of reuse or the better advantage of being able to leverage a single component for multiple applications. The whole promise of reuse, which is where the high return on SOA comes in, is lost without an understanding of where the service comes from and what it's supposed to do."

Leading the list of the 12 new versions of IBM Rational tools being announced today is IBM Rational ClearQuest 7, which is designed to ensure changes made in software development were done by authorized persons for "valid business reasons." ClearQuest now offers tight integration with the Build Forge development automation tool acquired by IBM last month and now renamed and released today as IBM Rational Build Forge 7. ClearQuest also integrates with a new release of IBM Tivoli Provisioning Manager 7. The three new tools working in concert are designed to help development teams track requirements, testing and release of services.

Other new products include:

  • IBM Rational Rose, an update of the original visual design and development environment for architects working in either Java or .NET
  • IBM Rational Rose Real-Time, part of IBM Rational Rose Technical Developer, is a model-driven development tool for automating design-to-code translation for Java, C and C++
  • IBM Rational Team Unifying Platform, which is a set of infrastructure tools and processes to provide common access to development assets, communication alerts and workflow processes
  • IBM Rational ClearCase 7 to manage and control software development assets
  • IBM Rational Functional Tester Plus to manage tests, defects and project change in .NET, Java and Web-based platforms
  • IBM Rational Portfolio Manager 7, a dashboard for viewing all stages of the software development process
  • IBM Rational Purify Plus, a runtime analysis tool designed to help developers write faster, more reliable code
  • IBM Rational RequisitePro 7 to track, manage and document requirements across a portfolio
  • IBM Rational Robot, a test automation tool for quality assurance teams

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